Cancer: How to win over it emotionally ? Dr. Deepali Kapoor, Onco-Psychologist , Senior Consultant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi) sheds light on the emotional journey after a patient learns that they are diagnosed with cancer. She explains that usually, the news of cancer itself blocks any other information that is provided to the patient. However, if the perspective towards looking at the illness is changed, it can help deal with the shock better. Patients need help in understanding what to do beyond cancer to navigate their way forward. It is crucial for them to understand that we now have modified treatments and that the surgeries are more advanced. With the provision of this information, the initial loss of control experienced by the patient is restored and returned within them.
It is natural to feel angry and frustrated with the world upon detection of a critical illness. Dr. Deepali reveals that before the 1970s patients were not told about the diagnosis of cancer and doctors refrained from even the use of the term cancer. It is only after the development of psycho-oncology in 1970 that the patient’s reactions to cancer such as depression and anxiety were detected and analysed. Ever since it has been observed that when patients are sent for counselling, or if they speak to an expert, then their attitude towards the illness changes. Some people believed that cancer can spread through touch. These irrational fears and myths about cancer can be busted with the help of an expert. For a wholesome treatment, it is important to treat the psychological effects that arise from a cancer diagnosis.